Dr. Brent Roussin says the past nine months have been difficult on everyone, but kindness is key.

The Chief Public Health Officer says there are several important things to continue to do, other than following the fundamentals, this winter. 

"I really encourage everyone to be kind, find ways to stay active," Roussin says. "We have to try to find ways to get through this."

For many, enjoying the winter weather in ways such as tobogganing and skating is how they stay active. 

"You need to find ways to stay active. It is very important to stay active, both when you are at home finding ways to stay active and also when you are out and about enjoying some of the winter."

Going outside in groups of five people or less is permitted. Roussin says if going outside for fresh are or exercise, to make a plan.

"You will just have to plan ahead and make sure you are not getting into crowded places and just keep those group sizes down."

He is asking people to avoid places where others could be gathering at the same time.

Currently, under the public health orders, private gyms and many other locations offering physical activities are closed to the public.

In Winnipeg, the city has closed its toboggan slides. Public outdoor rinks are also closed.

"Following provincial health orders, all City-owned and operated playgrounds, skate parks, and recreational sports fields are now closed," the City says in an earlier statement.

This year, backyard skating rinks have increased in popularity, including a multi-lawn rink on Harvard Avenue.

The Forks is hopeful their skating trail will be in operation this year, weather pending.

Some organizations, such as Youth For Christ, are holding virtual activities.

"I think overall this is a very challenging eight or nine months for many people and so when we talk about being kind, that is a strategy in our pandemic," Roussin says. 

Kindness to others includes both people inside and people outside of households. Roussin says to still connect with people outside of the household, but to do it virtually.

The gesture extends to those working to keep others safe and healthy.

Contact tracers are being met with hostility and abuse when telling Manitonbans that they are told they are close contacts of COVID-19 patients.

"It is certainly understandable why someone would find it quite a burden to have to self-isolate for 14 days, that is no doubt, but it should be quite clear what the benefit of that is, and what we are trying to accomplish by that." 

Roussin adds that it is not the fault of the public health nurse on the other line for someone having to isolate.